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Version 1.2.3

Version 1.2.3 of the LXD dashboard has just been released. This new release includes the following changes:

  • Added the IPv4 and IPv6 address of instances to the instance list. This give the list more details about the instances, aligning it close to the output of the “lxc list” command. The OS description has been replaced with OS name, giving the table more room for the changes.
  • Added the ability to publish an image from snapshots. This gives the user the ability to choose from any snapshots of an instance can publish that snapshot to an image that can be used to create additional instances.
  • Added both OS and Release options to publishing images from both an instance and snapshot
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Adding remote hosts in the LXD dashboard

Initial setup

When you first login to the LXD dashboard you will be redirected to the Remote LXD Hosts page. Here you can setup the parameters needed to connect to the LXD servers that you plan to manage.

Help instructions are available on the Remote LXD Hosts page and can be viewed by clicking the help icon located at the top right of the table.

Client Certificate

A client certificate is generated when you first setup the LXD dashboard and is used to securely connect to your LXD servers. Click the View Certificate link to display the certificate. Copy and paste the certificate information into a new file on your LXD server named lxdware.crt.

Import the certificate by running the lxc config trust add lxdware.crt command on your server. If your server was not setup to listen for incoming connections run the lxc config set core.https_address [::] command.

Adding your LXD Server

Now that your LXD server is listening for remote connections and trusts the LXD dasbhoard certificate it is time to add in the connection details of your LXD server. Click the Add Host link to display an entry form.

The Address field can be either an IP address or FQDN of your server. LXD uses port 8443 by default to connect remotely to hosts, however the Port field can be changed for your environment. The Alias field is just a friendly string to quickly identify and differentiate your server.

Hosts Table

Once your host has been added to the table, click the link provided in the Host column to start managing your LXD server. You are not limited to the number of hosts you wish to add.

Removing hosts can be completed by clicking on the delete icon in the table. This will remove your host connection information from the LXD dashboard database. If you are removing a host be sure to also remove the client certificate from your LXD server.

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Creating a Windows Server 2019 instance in LXD

With some of the more recent updates to LXD, it is becoming easier to run Windows as a virtual machine. This how-to guide will walk through the steps to get Windows Server 2019 up and running as an LXD virtual machine.

I will be using Ubuntu 20.04 as my desktop operating system, where I already have LXD installed and initialized. I will need to install the Remote Viewer application which will be used to connect to the VGA console of the Windows virtual machine. To install it use the following command:

$ sudo apt install virt-viewer

If you don’t already have an ISO file of the operating system, Microsoft allows users to download an evaluation copy of Windows Server 2019 . You will need a license key to use beyond the evaluation period. An ISO file needed for the virtual machine can be downloaded from https://www.microsoft.com/en-US/evalcenter/evaluate-windows-server-2019?filetype=ISO. The ISO filename was very long (17763.737.190906-2324.rs5_release_svc_refresh_SERVER_EVAL_x64FRE_en-us_1.iso) so for the sake of this how-to guide, I renamed it to Server2019.iso.

In many virtual environments, the Windows operating system needs to have virtio drivers installed during the installation process to detect hardware such as the hard drive. You will need a copy of these drivers. An ISO file of the virtio drivers can be downloaded from https://fedorapeople.org/groups/virt/virtio-win/direct-downloads/stable-virtio/virtio-win.iso. The current stable version at the time of this guide is virtio-win-0.1.185.iso.

Now that we have all the necessary components downloaded let’s create the virtual machine. We will create an empty instance named win2019 and set the instance type to virtual machine. To create the instance use the command:

$ lxc init win2019 --empty --vm

Before we start the virtual machine, there are special configurations that need to be setup such as booting from the downloaded ISO files as well as allocating CPU, RAM, and disk space. We will achieve this by creating two profiles that will be attached to the virtual machine.

The first profile will set the necessary hardware resources required to run Windows. This can be adjusted for your environment. We will call this profile windows-required and configure the profile to use 2 CPUs, 4GB or memory, and 30GB of hard disk space. We will also need to turn secure boot off. For additional help on creating profiles see the guide Setting instance CPU and memory limits. To create the profile and add the necessary configurations use the following commands:

$ lxc profile create windows-required

 $ lxc profile set windows-required limits.cpu=2 limits.memory=4GB security.secureboot=false

 $ lxc profile device add windows-required root disk path=/ pool=default size=30GB

The second profile is designed to be removed once Windows is installed. This profile will contain the filepaths for the ISO images downloaded earlier. These filepaths will need to be adjusted for your environment, but will server a reference. We will also need to allow LXD read, write, and lock (rwk) access to our download location through apparmor. To create the profile and add both the Server2019.iso and virtio-win-0.1.185.iso files use the following commands:

$ lxc profile create windows-installation

 $ lxc profile set windows-installation raw.qemu="-drive file=/home/matthew/Downloads/Server2019.iso,index=0,media=cdrom,if=ide -drive file=/home/matthew/Downloads/virtio-win-0.1.185.iso,index=1,media=cdrom,if=ide"

 $ lxc profile set windows-installation raw.apparmor="/home/matthew/Downloads/** rwk,"

Both the windows-required and windows-installation profiles can now be added to the win2019 virtual machine. To add both profiles use the following commands:

$ lxc profile add win2019 windows-required
 $ lxc profile add win2019 windows-installation

Now it is time to start the virtual machine using the console option and bring up the boot menu to select the Windows ISO file as the boot device. This part can be a little tricky as you will need to press the Esc key immediately as the instance starts, similar to how you would get into the CMOS settings of a computer. Use the following command to start the virtual machine with a console:

$ lxc start win2019 --console
(Press Esc key after running command)

Select Boot Manager from the menu and then UEFI QEMU DVD-ROM QM00001 to boot. You may see the Windows “Press any key to boot from CD…” appear or it may just be a blank screen, either way press Enter a few times to begin the installation process. It will appear as those the screen has frozen, we now need to exit the console so that we can open up a new VGA console. To exit, press both the Ctrl and a keys together, then after that press the q key (Ctrl+a-q) to release the console.

The next step is to setup a VGA console connection to the virtual machine. If the Remote Viewer (virt-viewer) application is installed it should automatically open after running the lxc console command. If the application doesn’t start a spice+unix URI will be returned that can be entered into the Remote Viewer application to connect. To open a VGA console use the following command:

$ lxc console win2019 --type=vga

Click through the first few setup prompts until you get to the “Where do you want to install Windows” screen. Click the Load driver option, expand CD Drive (E:) virtio-win-0.1.185 and select E:\vioscsi\2k19\amd64. You should now see a disk drive to install the operating system on. You can also choose to install the network driver now or after login. If you choose to install the driver now, repeat the Load driver process and select E:\NetKVM\2k19\amd64.

Continue the installation process. If the disk drive is offline, click the”Windows can’t be installed on this drive” link to turn it online. When the operating system reboots you will need to reconnect to the VGA console (The screen will appear frozen). It will more than likely reboot once or twice during the installation process.

After you have logged in, finish installing the remaining virtio drivers by opening up the E:\drive and running the virtio-win-gt-x64 install package. Be sure to configure a remote connection option such as RDP or Powershell

When finished setting Windows up, power off the virtual machine and remove the windows-installation profile as it is no longer needed. To remove the profile from the virtual machine use the following command:

$ lxc stop win2019
 $ lxc profile remove win2019 windows-installation

Start the win2019 instance up and test to verify that you can connect to it’s IP address either through RDP or Powershell.

$ lxc start win2019

If you plan to use this virtual machine to spawn additional virtual machines be sure to run the Windows sysprep tool and then you can either use LXD to publish the virtual machine or copy it to a new instance.

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Version 1.2.2

Version 1.2.2 has just been released. The new changes include the following:

  • added more customized notifications
  • added icons to the action in the instance page
  • improved modals on the instance and operations page
  • clicking on profile names will now display JSON data of profile
  • clicking on image descriptions will now display JSON data of image
  • clicking on managed network descriptions will now display JSON data of network
  • clicking on instance name on instance page will now display JSON data
  • added IPv4 and IPv6 to network table
  • added the option to create stateful snapshots

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Version 1.2.1

Version 1.2.1 has just been release. Changes include:

  • improvements to the UI on the index.html page
  • set default value for possible undeclared variable in cluster-list-select.php
  • fixed DataTables reloading first page of results after table refresh
  • removed lxc executable privileges in docker builds
  • allowed for empty instances to be created with an image selection of none
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Building your own Docker image for the LXD dashboard using source code

These instructions assume you already have docker installed on your computer. LXDWARE provides a Dockerfile in the source code of the LXD dashboard allowing you to easily build your own Docker image locally.

First download the source code. We will assume you already have git installed on your computer and will use git to download the source code. You can also download the source code directly from GitHub’s web interface. To download the source code use the following command:

$ git clone https://github.com/lxdware/lxd-dashboard.git

Now change your directory to be located inside the lxd-dashboard folder. Use the command:

 $ cd lxd-dashboard

To build the docker image use the following command (don’t forget the period at the end):

$ docker build -t lxdware/dashboard:latest .

You can now use the docker run command to setup and start the docker container:

$ docker run -d --name lxd-dashboard -p 80:80 -v ~/lxdware:/var/lxdware --restart=always lxdware/dashboard:latest
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Installing the LXD dashboard using the Docker image

These instructions assume you already have docker installed on your computer. The official LXD dashboard by LXDWARE image is available on Docker Hub and can be setup on your local computer with a single command.

The docker image listens on port 80 (HTTP) to display the web-based dashboard interface. If you have network access to the IP address of your docker container, you can use that to display the dashboard. However, in this set of instructions, port 80 on your computer will be used to forward traffic to port 80 on the container. The port that your host listens on can be changed.

As with all docker containers, persistent storage needs to be configured to allow data to remain throughout restarts of your container. The dashboard uses /var/lxdware for persistent data within the container. This can be bound to any directory location on your computer. For this set of installation instructions, ~/lxdware will be used as a bind mount location on your computer.

Version 2.x.x is a multi-user application and user accounts are now stored within the container’s database. To deploy version 2.x.x docker images of LXDWARE use the following command:

$ docker run -d --name lxd-dashboard -p 80:80 -v ~/lxdware:/var/lxdware --restart=always lxdware/dashboard:latest

With version 1.x.x images, the default username for the dashboard is admin. You can set your password by using the environmental variable when first running your container. If you do not set a variable, the default password is lxdware. It is recommended that you change the ADMIN_PASS value to a secure passphrase. For version 1.x.x images use the command:

$ docker run -d --name lxd-dashboard -p 80:80 -e ADMIN_PASS="lxdware" -v ~/lxdware:/var/lxdware --restart=always lxdware/dashboard:1.2.8

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Installing the LXD dashboard in an LXC container – v1.x.x

A newer version of this guide now exists for version 2.x.x here

This how-to guide will take you through the installation steps to run the LXD dashboard in an LXC container on your system. This guide will assume that your system already has LXD installed and configured.

Start by launching a new instance using the official Ubuntu 20.04 image. To launch the new instance and name it lxd-dashboard use the following command:

$ lxc launch ubuntu:20.04 lxd-dashboard

This will create a base container to use to install the LXD dashboard. Once the command finishes the container should be running. Now it is time to connect into the container and setup the software. Use the following command to obtain a bash shell connection to the instance, use the exit command at anytime to leave the shell:

$ lxc exec lxd-dashboard /bin/bash

The following commands will now be run inside the lxd-dashboard container. Verify that the terminal prompt reads root@lxd-dashboard:~# before installing any software. The LXD dashboard uses Nginx and PHP for the webserver platform and SQLite as a database to store remote lxd and simplestreams host connections. To install these packages use the following command:

$ apt update && apt install apache2-utils nginx php-fpm sqlite3 php-sqlite3 curl -y 

The web server connects through the REST API of remote LXD servers using curl. To allow the www-data user privileges to execute curl, run the following command:

$ echo "www-data ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: /usr/bin/curl" >> /etc/sudoers

Using wget, the source code for the LXD dashboard can be downloaded from the GitHub repository. For this guide the v1.2.8 release will be used. Check for newer versions on the GitHub page and replace the version number with the latest. To download and extract the source code use the following two commands:

$ wget https://github.com/lxdware/lxd-dashboard/archive/v1.2.8.tar.gz
 $ tar -xzf v1.2.8.tar.gz

A few web server files will need to moved into place for the web pages as well as the NGINX configuration. To copy these files use the following commands, making sure to change the version number to what was downloaded:

$ cp -a lxd-dashboard-1.2.8/default /etc/nginx/sites-available/
 $ cp -a lxd-dashboard-1.2.8/index.html /var/www/html/
 $ cp -a lxd-dashboard-1.2.8/admin /var/www/html/

The LXD dashboard uses an encrypted password for the admin user by echoing and piping the password to htpasswd. Be sure to use a secure password for the admin user by changing lxdware in the command below. The command can be run at anytime to change the admin password. To set the admin password use the following command:

$ echo lxdware | htpasswd -c -i /etc/nginx/.htpasswd admin

Secure connections made from the LXD dashboard to LXD host servers are made using certificates. A certificate will need to be generated and placed in the /var/lxdware/data/lxd directory to make it available to the web server. The LXD certificate is generated after an attempt to connect to a remote host. Connecting to localhost will fail, but also generate the needed certificate, so don’t be alarmed if you see Error: Get “https://localhost:8443”: Unable to connect to: localhost:8443 when running the command. Use the following commands to create the /var/lxdware/data/lxd/ directory and certificates and then copy the certificate information to the directory:

$ lxc remote add localhost
 $ mkdir -p /var/lxdware/data/lxd
 $ cp -a $HOME/snap/lxd/current/.config/lxc/client.crt /var/lxdware/data/lxd/client.crt
 $ cp -a $HOME/snap/lxd/current/.config/lxc/client.key /var/lxdware/data/lxd/client.key

Now it is time to setup the SQLite database used to store connection information for remote hosts as well as for simplestreams servers. The database will be located in the new directory /var/lxdware/data/sqlite/ and will contain two tables. To create the directory and setup the database tables use the following commands:

$ mkdir -p /var/lxdware/data/sqlite

 $ sqlite3 /var/lxdware/data/sqlite/lxdware.sqlite "CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS lxd_hosts (id INTEGER PRIMARY KEY AUTOINCREMENT, host TEXT NOT NULL, port INTEGER NOT NULL, alias TEXT, protocol TEXT);"
 
 $ sqlite3 /var/lxdware/data/sqlite/lxdware.sqlite "CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS lxd_simplestreams (id INTEGER PRIMARY KEY AUTOINCREMENT, host TEXT NOT NULL, alias TEXT, protocol TEXT);"
 
 $ sqlite3 /var/lxdware/data/sqlite/lxdware.sqlite "INSERT INTO lxd_simplestreams (host, alias, protocol) VALUES ('https://images.linuxcontainers.org', 'images', 'simplestreams');"
 
 $ sqlite3 /var/lxdware/data/sqlite/lxdware.sqlite "INSERT INTO lxd_simplestreams (host, alias, protocol) VALUES ('https://cloud-images.ubuntu.com/releases', 'ubuntu', 'simplestreams');"
 
 $ sqlite3 /var/lxdware/data/sqlite/lxdware.sqlite "INSERT INTO lxd_simplestreams (host, alias, protocol) VALUES ('https://cloud-images.ubuntu.com/daily', 'ubuntu-daily', 'simplestreams');"

Starting in version 1.2.6, local backups on instances can now be imported locally to the /var/lxdware/backups directory. You will need to create this directory.

$ mkdir /var/lxdware/backups

The /var/www/html/ directory, the /var/lxdware/data/sqlite/ directory, and the /var/lxdware/backups directory will all need to owned by the www-data user. To set the proper permissions run the following commands:

$ chown -R www-data:www-data /var/lxdware/data/sqlite
 $ chown -R www-data:www-data /var/lxdware/backups
 $ chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/html

The NGINX web server will need to be restarted to apply the web server configuration changes made above. To restart the web server run the following command:

$ systemctl restart nginx

It would be good practice to clear the history of the bash commands so that the password used for the login credentials can not be retrieved through bash history. To clear the history run the following command:

$ history -c

Congratulations! The container is now setup with the LXD dashboard software. Exit from the bash terminal and return to your LXD host server by using the command:

$ exit

Open a web browser and access the LXD dashboard by entering in the IP address of the instance. Use the lxc list command to view a list of the containers and their IP addresses on your LXD server.

Optional Port Forward Configuration

Port forwarding can be used to make the lxd-dashboard instance accessible to others computers outside of the server. The lxd-dashboard listens on port 80 for web traffic. In this how-to guide the host’s port 80 will be forwarded to the instance’s port 80. For more information on port forwarding view the how-to guide Forwarding host ports to LXD instances.

To create a new profile named proxy-port-80 use the following command:

$ lxc profile create proxy-port-80

To configure the profile to forward the port 80 from the host server to port 80 on the instance, use the following command:

$ lxc profile device add proxy-port-80 hostport80 proxy connect="tcp:127.0.0.1:8080" listen="tcp:0.0.0.0:80"

To apply the newly created profile to the lxd-dashboard instance and begin forwarding port 80 traffic to your instance run the following command:

$ lxc profile add lxd-dashboard proxy-port-80

Open a web browser and access the LXD dashboard by entering in the IP address of the host server.

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Persistent storage on LXD instances

With other containerization technologies such as Docker, persistent volumes (or bind mounts) are common as the container’s life span is often short lived. With LXD instances, the containers live beyond the life of a single process and the demand for persistent storage is not as critical. With that said, there are many use cases for wanting persistent storage within your LXD instance. In this post we will examine how to create persistent storage by mounting a directory on the LXD host server into an instance.

We will create a new profile with the persistent storage settings and then apply that profile to an instance. Let’s call the new profile volume-demo-data. It can be named whatever you want but it’s good practice to name it something meaningful. We will be using a directory on the host server located at /demo/data as our persistent storage location. To create the new profile run the following command:

$ lxc profile create volume-demo-data

We now have an empty profile without any configurations. To get a list of the profiles you have on your LXD server and see the newly created volume-demo-data profile, run the following command:

$ lxc profile list
+---------------------+---------+
|    NAME             | USED BY |
+---------------------+---------+
| default             | 2       |
+---------------------+---------+
| volume-demo-data    | 0       |
+---------------------+---------+

We will need a directory on the host that can be used for persistent storage. For this post, we will create a new directory located at /demo/data. To create the new directories use the following command:

$ sudo mkdir -p /demo/data

The new profile now can be modified to include a disk device that mounts the /demo/data directory (source) to a location within the instance (path). We can choose to edit the profile directly using an editor (lxc profile edit volume-demo-data) or add a new disk device using the command-line.

Choosing the later option, we can create a new device named host-data that uses the host’s directory /demo/data, mounted within the instance at /var/demo/data, by running the following command:

$ lxc profile device add volume-demo-data host-data disk source=/demo/data path=/var/demo/data

To view the contents of the profile use the following command:

$ lxc profile show volume-demo-data
config: {}
description: ""
devices:
  host-data:
    path: /var/demo/data
    source: /demo/data
    type: disk
name: volume-demo-data
used_by: []

If you are launching a new instance you can use the –profile option to add profiles to the instance as it is created. But if the instance already exists you will have to append the new profile to the instance. Let’s assume we have an instance named container1. To append the volume-demo-data profile to this instance use the following command:

$ lxc profile add container1 volume-demo-data

To show the applied configurations to your instance use the following command:

$ lxc config show container1 -e

The profile configuration can be removed from the instance. To remove the profile use the following command:

$ lxc profile remove container1 volume-demo-data

When you remove the profile from the instance, the profile still exists and can be used for other instances. If you want to permanently remove the profile it can be deleted with the following command:

$ lxc profile delete volume-demo-data
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Setting instance CPU and memory limits

LXD instances can be be limited to the amount of CPU and Memory resources used by the host server. These limits can be set on each individual instance, or through the use of profiles. This how-to guide will create a profile establishing these limits and then will apply that profile to an instance. A single profile can be reused and applied to multiple instances.

We will call the new profile cpu2-memory4, naming it something that can easily identify it’s purpose. We will set the profile to limit the instance to 2 virtual CPUs and also 4 GB of memory. To create the new profile run the following command:

$ lxc profile create cpu2-memory4

We now have an empty profile without any configurations. To get a list of the profiles you have on your LXD server and see the newly created cpu2-memory4 profile, run the following command

$ lxc profile list
+---------------+---------+
|    NAME       | USED BY |
+---------------+---------+
| default       | 2       |
+---------------+---------+
| cpu2-memory4  | 0       |
+---------------+---------+

The new profile now can be modified to limit the CPU and memory usage. We can choose to edit the profile directly using an editor (lxc profile edit cpu2-memory4) or set limits using LXC based command-line options.

Choosing the later option, we can set both configuration limits at the same time with a single command. Let’s set the CPU limit to 2 virtual CPUs and the memory limit to 4GB of RAM by running the following command:

$ lxc profile set cpu2-memory4 limits.cpu=2 limits.memory=4GB

To view the contents of the profile use the following command:

$ lxc profile show cpu2-memory4
config:
  limits.cpu: "2"
  limits.memory: 4GB
description: ""
devices: {}
name: cpu2-memory4
used_by: []

If you are launching a new instance you can use the –-profile (or -p) option to add profiles to the instance as it is created. But if the instance already exists you will have to append the new profile to the instance. Let’s assume we have an instance named vm1. To append the cpu2-memory4 profile to this instance use the following command:

$ lxc profile add vm1 cpu2-memory4

To show the applied configuration to your instance use the following command:

$ lxc config show vm1 -e

The profile configuration can be removed from the instance. To remove the profile use the following command:

$ lxc profile remove vm1 cpu2-memory4

When you remove the profile from the instance, the profile still exists and can be used for other instances. If you want to permanently remove the profile it can be deleted with the following command:

$ lxc profile delete cpu2-memory4